An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


Daily Policy Update

Each day a summary of news and information that has been gathered from community partners and credible news sites will be posted.

Governor Wolf:


State Government:

General COVID resources:


Dept. of Agriculture:


Dept. of Human Services:


Dept. of Health:

  • “Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 888 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 51,845” :
  • Lancaster Stats: 2,041 cases. 8,929 negative tests. 145 deaths. (According to DOH website- updated today at 12:00pm)
  • Daily Press Briefings:
    • Gov Wolf summary:
      • We are nearing the 2 month mark in our fight against COVID. So far the public health aspect has been our number one priority. Now, we are reaching a point where we can more fully address the economic affects of COVID. An estimated 1 in 6 Pennsylvanians who are currently able to work, do not have a job. As businesses begin to reopen, we are walking a tightrope between health and the economy. While the spread has slowed, we have neither eradicated it nor cured it, we anticipate many months to pass before we have a vaccine and some current projections show a resurgence in the fall.
      • To reopen our economy to its maximum potential, we will need to boost our ability to contain this highly transmissible virus. I am proposing the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corp, a new program that will expand our ability to conduct contact-tracing and testing and mobilize Pennsylvanians to do all sorts of things to contain the virus. The CCC Corp will reduce our unemployment rate while making a lasting health and economic contribution to our commonwealth. By maximizing our testing and contact-tracing capabilities we can contain COVID without widely freezing the movement of Pennsylvanians. I will continue to release more details in the coming weeks.
      • I would like to extend a special ‘Thank You’ to community health nurses in honor of world nurses day. As we reopen our Commonwealth we will increasingly rely on our community health nurses who form the backbone of our contact-tracing program.
    • Dr. Levine summary:
      • As of 12am this morning, 888 new cases bringing statewide total to 51,845 cases in all 67 counties. Includes 3,316 cases in healthcare workers, includes 2,062 cases in workers in the food industry in 122 facilities statewide, and includes 10,010 residents in 502 long-term living facilities. 3,106 deaths- all have been adults.
      • As of 10am today, hospitals are reporting that approx. 2,553 patients are currently hospitalized due to COVID, 549 of those are using a ventilator. Across our healthcare system, approx. 46% of hospital beds, 40% of ICU beds, and nearly 75% of our ventilators are still available.
      • As the Governor pointed out, it is Nurses Week and International Nurses Day. We want to take a moment to recognize the essential contributions and sacrifices nurses have made throughout this pandemic. Thank you again to every nurse in PA and our nation in helping to keep us safe.
      • If you, or someone you know, needs mental health resources please contact the mental health crisis line by texting “PA” to 741741 or call the statewide support and referral helpline at 1-855-284-2494
      • If you, or someone you know, is suffering from an addiction you can call the Dept of Drug and Alcohol Programs helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
    • Reporters’ Questions
      • Last week NJ released its provisional death statistics for the past few months which show a clear rise in deaths. Could you comment why PA has not recorded a similar rise in deaths?
        • Sec. Levine: First, NJ has a completely different death reporting system than we do, we have 67 coroners in our commonwealth and they have a medical examiner system that reports through their department. But we have been looking at the data today and in NJ they have reported 131,890 patients with COVID and have reported 8,549 deaths which is approx. 6% of patients. In PA today, we have reported 51,845 patients and 3,106 deaths which is approx. 6% of patients. So in terms of death reporting, its approx. the same.
      • The NY Times is reporting this morning that the state’s reporting of death totals to the CDC was slower than normal. Why is that and why is it problematic this year?
        • Sec. Levine: Reporting the deaths and the cases has certainly been a challenge for our department in reporting real time almost and reporting that every day. In terms of death reporting, we have our two systems the NEDSS reporting system and the electronic death reporting system, we get deaths reported from our Coroners as well, and then from our county municipal health depts. So it has been a real challenge. We are absolutely committed to getting the data out in an efficient way and we are going to be working every day to reconcile our data and are working on both personnel and IT ways to reconciling our systems. And we commit to getting the most accurate data reported to you every day that we possibly can.
      • There seems to be some confusion about when dental practices can open for elective procedures and routine cleanings- in what phase are you advising dental practices to open for elective, non-emergency care?
        • Sec. Levine: We will be having dental guidance that will be released by Friday.
      • What exactly are respirator decontamination systems and how can they help our first responders?
        • The Battelle Unit has opened in Delaware County- this is a critical care decontamination system, it is very important to emphasize this is free, this is used to sterilize the N95 masks (those are called respirators sometimes, which is different than a ventilator). These N95 respirators can be sterilized using aerosolized hydrogen peroxide and that is being done free for hospitals, health systems, first responders, nursing homes, throughout the southeast now.
      • What is the timeline for hiring the Coronavirus Corp and how many people are you going to hire?
        • Gov. Wolf: I will be giving more details as it rolls out. At this point we don’t know, but to have an impact on the economy we want this to be a big deal. The point of this is to create a corp of trained folks who are ready and able, who have the skills we need them to have, to help usher us all through the new environment that we are going to be facing as we get into this post-pandemic world.
      • How will the state pay for this? Through federal CARES dollars? And when will you be able to detail how the dollars are being spent?
        • Gov. Wolf: The hope is that we can get special funding from the Federal govt for this, that’s what we are trying to do at this point. Again, as we know more details we will share more details.
      • Do you need legislative approval for the Coronavirus corp?
        • Gov. Wolf: At this point no, I have shared it with legislative leaders and I think they agreed at this point there is no need for legislative approval for this.
      • A photo is making rounds on social media showing a senate staffer giving haircuts to lawmakers outside the Capital. The photo has prompted a lot of comments claiming the hypocrisy since a lot of professional barbershops and hair salons are not ready to open yet. What is your reaction?
        • Gov. Wolf: Yeah, again I am not familiar with this, obviously I did not get a haircut but I think that question would be best directed to whichever senate staffer actually did that.
      • Earlier this week, a state representative suggested your administration’s lack of transparency reminded him of how Nazis or Soviet Russia conducted business. What is your reaction to that remark? And as a follow-up, he is not the only Republican lawmaker suggesting that your administration is not transparent in the specific criteria for opening counties, those lawmakers say you have not engaged with the legislature, what is your response?
        • Gov. Wolf: I have actually worked with the legislature, every week we have meetings with the Legislative leaders. We are continuously meeting through the Legislative Affairs Dept., I think 7 days a week, with the legislature. Our intergovernmental affairs division is meeting and working with local govts. every day, all the time. So I am not sure where we are not doing that, if there is a place that we should be working more closely with anybody I am open to that. In terms of transparency, I absolutely want to be transparent, if there are some areas that we could do a better job, and I understand we are trying to fight this disease but there is no excuse for not being as transparent as we possibly can without violating whatever confidentiality rules. If there is something I am missing, I am always open to suggestions.
      • How does the Northeast Coalition operate- weekly calls with Governors? Zoom meetings? Something else?
        • Gov. Wolf: We have occasional zoom meetings, we actually just had one on Sunday, but the routine is that the senior staffers meet at least twice a week, sometimes more often, to go over things that are going on in each of our states. Most recently, I think we announced publicly, we are working to pool the buying power of the seven states to form a consortium to make sure we are doing everything we can to get the PPE, equipment, and materials we need to fight this virus. We are also working with institutions of higher education, research institutions, to do more than we have in the past to actually engage them to do research. And especially in PA, our manufacturing base, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to make the stuff we need. Again, by combining all seven states we have more buying power, more brain power to do the things we need to do to fight this virus.
      • In terms of the decontamination systems, you announced a program to give free decontamination systems for first responders and health care facilities. Why did you decide to do that?
        • Gov. Wolf: Well, you mean decontamination for equipment, but the idea is these folks are on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus and they are the ones that we really need to make sure are as protected as they could possibly be and that is pure and simple what is driving that.
      • What have the conversations been with your administration about granting long-term care facilities civil immunity during COVID-19 and are you going to give them that immunity?
        • Gov. Wolf: In terms of the facilities, no. We have been in conversations about making sure the healthcare professionals, especially those that are coming back with the single intent of fighting this disease  and being on the front lines, we have been talking about trying to give them some additional liability protection and I think there will be an announcement today on that.
      • What is the administration’s response to a state lawmaker encouraging people not to wear masks whenever they go into an establishment saying it does nothing unless you are in close quarters?
        • Sec. Levine: Well I think that is incorrect. On the recommendations of the CDC, the federal govt., many other countries, and really every state in the country, we are recommending that individuals wear masks when they go outside and are going to encounter people. As I have said many times, ‘my mask protects you, your mask protects me, and if we are all wearing masks then the community itself is protected’ and there is a decreasing rate of spread of this very infectious and communicable disease COVID-19.
      • What role will technology play in PA’s contact-tracing effort and how do you balance it with protecting people’s privacy?
        • Sec. Levine: Well we will be using technology, we have talked about a product that will be helping us and are in discussions with other companies about using apps. Using the apps that would track people’s whereabouts on their cell phone would be voluntary, so it would be downloaded to your phone and other states are having this discussion now on how we are going to make the app for PA. That would be voluntary however, to participate in that type of program.
      • Why has testing plateaued?
        • Sec. Levine: We are seeing less cases, we reported 888 new cases, so that is good news that it’s over 4 days now that we have had less than 1,000 cases. Trends mean more than any specific day but I think it is starting to form a trend so I think that is very positive news. We do want to continue to expand testing, particularly in the areas that are most affected like the southeast and northeast, and to those areas that are going Yellow. Except for mass testing sites, you need to have a doctor’s orders to get testing done so we are trying to think of ways that we might be able to make that even easier for people to get tests. We want tests to be done at hospitals and health systems. We know that RiteAid is doing tests, and we are trying to expand that as well, perhaps to other types of pharmacies. And then we are going to start to consider when and how to do the population-based testing, which is very different, the type of surveillance testing and when we will do that.


National News:

Washington Post:

  • In an interview with ABC's David Muir, President Trump acknowledged that it’s “possible” more Americans will die as stay-at-home orders are lifted, “but we have to get our country open," he said. “To the people that have lost someone there is nobody … that is taking it harder than me,” the president added. There are more than 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and more than 70,000 people have lost their lives.
  • Children are falling ill with a mysterious inflammatory syndrome — like an illness known as Kawasaki disease — thought to be linked to COVID-19. “Not in my lifetime have I seen anything remotely similar to what’s going on right now,” said one cardiologist at Boston Children's Hospital. The strange nature of the cases in previously healthy children has put the medical community on high alert.
  • A new research paper that has yet to be vetted suggests that a highly contagious strain of coronavirus emerged in Europe and became dominant around the planet. The study was immediately met with skepticism by many infectious-disease experts. There is no scientific consensus that any mutation in the virus has changed its contagiousness or lethality.
  • The urgent quest for a COVID-19 treatment involves a llama named Winter, whose blood could hold a weapon to blunt the virus. She lives at a research farm in Belgium with about 130 other llamas and alpacas. And like all of them, she produces a special class of disease-fighting antibodies. Meet Winter and learn how scientists are researching antibody therapies.
  • Why are so many people convinced they have already had COVID-19 — some of whom think they fell ill with the virus well before the outbreak began in China? “Thinkihadititis” is spreading rapidly. No one wants to have COVID-19, but everyone wants to have had it.
  • The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into a firm created by two well-connected Republican operatives who sold COVID-19 supplies to states but never delivered. Last weekend, Maryland terminated a $12.5 million contract for personal protective equipment with the firm. California scrambled to get its $457 million deposit back. Read about the company and why lawmakers are calling for more vetting.
  • A violent arrest in New York City that left a man hospitalized for his injuries came after police were sent to enforce social distancing orders. NYC officials have said there are no rules for how officers should go about doing this. Some civil rights groups say what city officials characterize as an ever-evolving policy on social distancing enforcement is simply part of a broader, preexisting pattern of unequal policing.

Live updates and more


Recurring Resources:


  • Lancaster Chamber:
    • Website updated daily:
    • Past webinars are listed on the Chamber’s site listed above!
      • Workplace Considerations: Practical Strategies for Your Workforce and Workplace [Webinar]
        WHEN: Thursday, May 7
        Join three business community professionals as they share what they are currently experiencing in their workplaces and how they plan to move their companies & organizations forward. Learn more about change management, how to create new norms, develop effective communication strategies, tips & tricks for outfitting your space and workforce and how to navigate new realities and challenges of the workplace in alignment with CDC and State guidelines as Pennsylvania prepares to reopen.
      • The Total Internship Management Workshop [Virtual Event]
        WHEN: Tuesday, May 12

        The Total Internship Management Workshop is designed to help you and your organization build a win-win internship program. Based on the most in-depth research ever to be conducted into the successful management of internship programs, you can be assured that you will leave the event with a newfound approach to internships. Now - it is virtual!
      • Work Wisdom Series: Authentic Communication In The Remote Era [Virtual Event]
        WHEN: Wednesday, May 27

        Authentic Communication is the make or break factor for leaders, teams and organizations during the remote era.  During this interactive workshop, Kedren and Sarah will teach three remote communication techniques to enable you and your teams to practice Authentic Communication to foster efficiency, psychological safety and joy.  Join us to learn how to mitigate zoom exhaustion, select the proper medium for communicating, and techniques for co-creating clear, realistic expectations.



  • Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health:





I’m In Campaign

  • The “I’m in!” campaign: Lancaster County’s health systems and community organizations are teaming up on a public service message to encourage everyone to continue taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the coming weeks.  We are making progress to slow the spread, but we need everyone in the community to join in to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.  The I’m In campaign will include TV ads, social media engagement, and will encourage everyone to show that they are IN to help slow the spread and save lives.
  • How your organization can help: Create your own “I’m in” messages on social media and encourage your community to do the same.  Attached are the simple instructions to create and share your message.  We will share additional resources and tips for joining the campaign over the coming weeks.
  • If you would like to share the PSA video, please do!  Here are the links to the 30-second and 60-second clips on YouTube:
  • With questions about the “I’m in” campaign, please contact Brenda Buescher.